From the Trenches

Outliers – Gladwell Does it Again

Mike Sweeney | December 29, 2008

I typically don’t like reading anything classified as a “business book”.  Sometimes these books are how-tos, and by page 10 I realize that I can’t possibly implement the “system” that the author is pushing.  Sometimes these books are success stories or autobiographies, and while I like a good story as much as the next guy, I simply get bored reading 400 pages about one person’s life.  Sometimes these books are thought leadership or educational pieces, and while I am certainly in constant pursuit of knowledge, I find that most of these books contain repackaged content from someone or somewhere else.

I received Outliers as a Christmas gift, and picked it up yesterday around 6 PM.  Knocked out 100 pages when I was supposed to be doing a variety of other things on a Sunday night.  I obviously haven’t finished the book yet, but I am excited enough about what I’ve read that I had to write about it.

Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point and Blink, simply does what he always does – he makes you think about the world in a way that you likely haven’t thought about it.  And he never does it in an “I’m a genius, so I have to write about extremely complex, hard-to-understand subjects” type of way.  He takes simple success stories – Bill Gates and The Beatles for example – and he exposes you to reasons for their success that you likely never would have dreamt up.

I am already feeling like it’s a bit unfair to write about this until I finish the book, so I’ll stop there and come back with a full review later.  In the meantime, if you’re a stats geek who also enjoys stories that dig below the surface, pick it up.  If nothing else, I promise you’ll be entertained.


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